Sightsee Toronto in a few days
In February, my son and I travel to Toronto for a few days for some Opera. We have made this trip for the past three years. In that time we have found places we enjoyed.
Anything that is going on at the Four Season Performing Arts Centre is guaranteed to be exciting, provided of course that it’s your cup of tea. The FourSeasons Centre is on York and Queen Street, so it is easy to access using the public transportation system. There are some good restaurants nearby, making it easy to make a delightful evening of it.
Our hotel, The Grand, is on Jarvis and Dundas. It’s a lovely hotel and close to the subway and all the transport on Queen Street. From there we have gone to the Leslieville area at Queen and Carlaw. We love to visit Wonderpens on Carlaw (www.wonderpens.ca). They have fountains pens, lots of lovely inks, and stationary. My son picked up sealing wax and seals as that is his latest interest. You can take the supercool Queen Streetcar to get there.
Leslieville is very Hipster. There are lots of local coffee shops with character. The one we chose had the mismatched plastic furniture and a huge and, I’m sorry, ugly draft excluder cloak around the front door. There were only two other customers, and it took nearly 15 minutes to get our espresso and latte. The bearded young man was tapping and grinding the whole time. They were excellent. I guess perfection takes time.
Across the street was an interesting little place. It looked like the sign said bacon sandwiches!!! Closer examination showed that to be true. It was a little place called Rashers (948 Queen St East), and it was all about the bacon sandwich. It was so small that if a third person came in it would be crowded. At one point there were eight customers packed inside.
I had a BLT without the L. It was on a ciabatta type bun and was delectable!! My son had a bacon and grilled cheese. So Yum!!!
Leslieville is one of those areas where you can have a good time no matter what the weather or what time of year you are there. There are many original, beautiful and eclectic boutiques worth browsing.
Near our hotel, we found a couple of dining gems. For post-opera dining, we found Smokies Poutinerie. Dundas and Jarvis. Classic Poutine. You can’t beat it. Another place we enjoy is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, 91 Dundas St. East.
It’s always delicious!
Historic St Lawrence Market
The historic St Lawrence Market is just down Jarvis from our hotel. It’s a great place to go for sandwiches, snacks, and bagels. On Saturday it is packed. There is so much food. Even roasted bones for making soup.
After stocking up on Montreal style bagels, we headed to the Distillery District. (http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/about-us.html)
This area was once a huge distillery from Victorian times that has been transformed into a European style shopping and patio area. It’s a very pleasant place. The shops are unique. This year there were some nice art installations.
Whenever we come here we end up at Cacao70 for divine hot chocolate.
Don’t miss this place. The food and drinks are fantastic. Especially on a cold day, the spicy hot chocolate will warm you right up.
Other places of interest. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has fascinating exhibits that are beautifully curated. We enjoyed the Oriental area very much. It’s right on the subway and is part of the Citypass.
Further along the same subway line is Casa Loma. This castle was built by Industrialist Henry Pellatt. Another CityPass sight. The place is beautiful and has an interesting history, definitely an ego project. It has an 800-foot tunnel under the road to the stables and garage along with secret stairs and a remarkable shower. Most recently it was where the new Disney “Beauty and the Beast” movie was filmed.
A few days in Toronto can be filled with fun without a rental car. The TTC will get you to all the interesting places. We always find something new to see and Toronto has a great appreciation for its history so everything is beautifully preserved and presented. Go and have a great time!